MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More Tennesseans have died in fires so far this year compared to this time last year.
According to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, 27 Tennesseans have died in fires so far this year.
Nine deaths were in Shelby County.
At this time last year, 11 Tennesseans had been victims of fatal fires.
Incidents of fire always increase in the winter.
The most common causes are space heaters that get knocked over or are set near something flammable.
Another big issue is food left unattended on the stove.
The best way to prevent a house fire is to watch what you’re cooking and check that your space heater is kept out of the way but not in a small enclosed space.
Also, make sure you have a working smoke alarm.
Many fire deaths could have been prevented if the smoke alarm was working.
If you hear your smoke alarm chirping or beeping, that’s not a good sign.
Change the batteries.
If you need help, contact your local fire department or station.
“The Fire Marshal’s Office wants to extend our condolences to the families and friends of the victims of these fatal fires,” said Kevin Walters with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. “We want to urge Tennesseans to focus on fire safety during this winter storm. We want people to be warm and safe. We want them to know you can do both.”
The Department of Commerce and Insurance urges folks using generators not to bring it inside as it could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.